The warm weather is a fun time for kids across North Dakota to enjoy riding around on ATVs, or taking their jet skis out. These recreational vehicles offer a lot of joy, but they also have safety risks. Riders of all ages can suffer serious injuries such as brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and broken bones if their recreational vehicles crash or collide, or it there is a defective part.

A recent KXNET story highlighted some of the dangers of ATVs and watercraft, and why safety courses are necessary. The report stated that according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 1 in 5 ATV accidents involve children under 15 and nearly 10 percent of ATV crashes involve kids under 12 years of age.

Safety courses for ATV and off-road vehicles

Many ATV accidents can be avoided with proper training. The North Dakota Parks and Recreation (NDPR) mandates that any children between 12 and 15 who want to ride off-highway vehicles, who do not have valid driver’s licenses or permits, must take a safety course. Failure to take the course can result in a fine. Worse – failure to take the course can result in physical injuries or death.

The NDPR offers two course options:

  • The online course option. Students access the course through the Internet from the comfort of their home. When the course is completed, the child receives a certificate.
  • A hands-on course. The department has about a dozen mini ATVS they use to give the kids hand-on experiences. The courses are offered throughout the summer.

Many of the same principles that apply to driving a larger vehicle also apply to ATVs:

  • Operators must get familiar with the terrain before driving their ATV.
  • Operators should get to know their machines.
  • Drivers of ATVs should make sure they follow the recommendations on age limits set by the manufacturer.

Information about watercraft and jet ski safety courses

North Dakota Game and Fish offers their own set of safety classes for kids between 12 and 15 that operate boats and use jet skis. Children under 16 are required to take a boat and water safety course to operate a motorboat of more than 10 horsepower. The course offers different aspects of boat operation including what safety equipment to have, the rules of operation, and “navigational lightings.” NDGF recommends kids use life jackets and wear helmets.

At the North Dakota Larson Law Firm P.C., our injury lawyers understand how traumatic it is when an accident on a recreational vehicle hurts your child. We work to hold manufacturers accountable if a product defect caused the accident. We fight to get your child all the compensation he/she deserves. We also work with the community to help parents understands the dangers of off-highway vehicles and other outdoor recreational devices. For help with any outdoor personal injury case, please call our Minot and Bismarck lawyers at 701-484-HURT or use our contact form to arrange to speak with an experienced attorney.